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I bought an unspecified variety of philadelphus three years ago, on a whim, from a DIY store. 

It's growing well, older stems are about 3m tall, this year's growth is about thigh height, all looking lush and green. It's by a sunny south-facing fence, normal acidity, moisture etc. 

So how long should I give it, before admitting that buying from a DIY store was a silly idea, and pulling it up?




Abi - mine flowered in their second year, and they were from cuttings from a bush at my old house.  Sorry, thats probably not what you wanted to hear

So it sounds like it should have got to a flowering point by now, doesn't it? How disappointing!

But I'd rather know, and not waste time nurturing it, so thank you!


The Mock Orange - Philadelphus varieties - are well known for their heady scent - especially on an early summer morning or evening! Correct pruning is essential for this group of early summer flowering shrubs.

Prune too early and you will lose the flower buds for the current year. Prune too late and the shrub will not have enough time in the growing season to provide flowering stems for the following year. Don't panic - we are here with information and advice upon when and how to prune your Philadelphus.

There are several Philadelphus - Mock Oranges - that need regular annual pruning in order to flower well with a spectacular display in early summer.  We take you through the simple procedure of pruning Philadelphus to ensure that you have a stunning show of pure white flowers year after year.

Philadelphus Belle Etoile - One of the less vigorous varieties, noted for the light purple centre to the pure white flower. © David Hughes 2008

Most shrubs that flower at this time of year (early summer - image taken 17th June) depend upon flowering stems that were grown by the plant in the previous year (Growing season). If you prune Philadelphus too late - late summer or autumn- fall - for instance, then the shrub will not have enough time to make flowering stems

Hope this helps

I think I pruned in late summer, just cutting out sideways growing branches and leaving upright stems, just aesthetic pruning! Would this have made a difference? I probably took out a quarter of the stems. 



You could have cut a few potential flowers off Abi but there ought to be some on the upright stems. It doesn't sound like a pruning error

I had a wiegela like this. Lovely shape, had it for years, never flowered.

I do like the shape... not sure if enough for a reprieve though!


Have you researched feeding it?

I bought mine 4 years ago - very small - and it flowered for the first time last year. You may yet be lucky... 

Abi, i think your problem is caused by you pruning too late. you most certainly removed much of any potential flowering wood.

however, see what happens should flower in next few weeks.  if it does, after flowering remove just the flowered stems back to non flowered new growth.  it is the growth made during the summer that will produce your flowers next year.

dont prune for aesthetic reasons...philadelphus are not meant to be shapely bushes.  prune for flowers.

Woodgreen wonderboy

Don't prune until after your first flowering, which could be this year yet. Mine haven't flowered yet, and I am in  the south. Prune flowering stems as soon as they finish, and you will get flowers the following year. Do't give up yet, they are pretty reliable, with the emphasis on pretty.

imprune in trying to work out when to prune ? Is it January  ??

Woodgreen wonderboy

No,that is completely the wrong time as you will remove all that year's flowering wood. Wait until June-ish for it to flower and cut back those stems that have dead flowers on them. With luck you will also see fresh, softer stems which you must leave well alone as these are next year's treats.  

Our plant has nexer flowered in the four years we have been here.  It is very vigorous and when we had help to landscape our garden a couple of years ago they cut it down to about 2 ft and removed some of the plant from root level.  Should we now give up - we have again got a huge healthy 'green' bush but no flowers again this year.

I think the severe pruning it got has probably made it sulk. Plus, they are slow developers. Plus, they flower on little spurs that come off the growth they made the previous year. The huge green bush that you have should flower next June with a bit of luck. When it has finished flowering you can cut it back. It will need time to grow new shoots after the pruning which will then produce flowers the following year. Have patience and no more samurai sword work.


My philadelphus is 14.Ft high and flowering profusely. Should I prune it and when?


Yes, immediately after flowering. it is easy.

did mine last week....remove all flowered wood back to where you see new shoots.  Also out a couple of old stems....they look whiter/greyer/ the base.

pruning is important.....philadelphus is an ungainly bush esp when un pruned and progressively becomes congested.  

Woodgreen wonderboy

Agree with everything Verd. says (as usual), I will prune mine soon, and it needs a bit of renovation pruning having got a bit congested. I can see the new whippy green shoots to avoid which will flower next year.

Katherine W

Yes, what Verdun said.

And please please please, don't give it the "blob" treatment (going all over it with hedge clippers). Nothing sadder than Philadelphus (and forsythias.... argh) turned to congested tight little blobby balls of mangled leaves and dead wood. Take the time to do it properly with secateu/loppers or even a little saw, and leave the new wands intact in all their arching shapely legth.

joyce mannell

I moved mine two years ago its all leaves at the moment not much bark but has never flowered

should i prune it now